Currently, Lewisham Homes delivers management services for properties on which Lewisham Council owns the freehold. This means Lewisham Homes provides services like maintenance, communal gardening and service charge collection on behalf of the Council.
Lewisham Council and Lewisham Homes want to speak to tenants and leaseholders to get their views about whether the Council should bring management responsibilities and services back in-house.
The Council’s Mayor and Cabinet agreed to consult residents at a meeting on Wednesday 6 July – you can read a report on the future of housing management on the Council’s website.
We are now planning the consultation to make sure we hear the views of as many people as possible. We are involving tenants in this process to make sure we are asking the right questions and finding ways to reach a wide range of people. We will be asking about your priorities for your home and what improvements can be made to the services you receive, as well as whether you think the Council should bring housing management back in-house.
A discussion period around the consultation will begin in mid-August with the consultation formally launching in September. This will include:
- On-line survey
- Postal survey
- Telephone survey
- Series of roadshows
We have already sent a letter to all our residents explaining the process, including a list of questions and answers which we are publishing below.
We will be sharing more information about the potential changes when the consultation begins, but want to assure our residents at this early stage that any changes in housing management arrangements will NOT affect your tenancy, rent or leasehold.
|Why is the review happening?||The management agreement between the Council and Lewisham Homes includes a break clause which gives the Council an opportunity to consider whether it wants Lewisham Homes to continue to provide housing management services. The agreement requires the Council to give notice before the end of 2022. The break clause provides an opportunity to consider how best to deliver – and improve – our housing management services. We want to improve services for residents, increase democratic accountability and strengthen resident voices.|
|What’s changed since the agreement with Lewisham Homes was signed?||When Lewisham Homes was established in 2007, additional funds were available for ALMOs (arm’s-length management organisations) to apply for. There are no longer any financial incentives for ALMOs. The Government is also bringing in new legislation and regulations which set out the responsibilities the Council has as landlord for the service provided to tenants and their safety, which cannot be transferred to Lewisham Homes.|
|What happens next?||Following agreement by Mayor and Cabinet on 6 July, a consultation to seek the views of tenants and leaseholders will be carried out. Work on this is now underway and we expect to begin the consultation later in the summer/early autumn.|
|Do residents have a say?||Yes, tenants and leaseholders will be consulted and their views will be considered. Information will be provided and there will be a chance for all Lewisham Homes tenants and leaseholders to ask questions and make their views known. This feedback will form an important part of the options appraisal, and will help Mayor and Cabinet to make a decision at the end of the year.|
|What is the position of the Lewisham Homes Board?||The Lewisham Homes Board supports the Council’s decision to carry out this work to ensure the best possible services for tenants and leaseholders.|
|What changes would tenants and leaseholders see?||We want to make sure tenants and leaseholders receive the best possible services, and that their homes are well managed and safe. You would still see the same caretakers and repairs staff, who would be transferred over to the Council, but we believe that bringing services back in house would allow the Council to provide a more joined-up service and increase accountability. As part of the consultation we will be asking people about their priorities for their homes and what improvements they want to see.|
|Have other councils brought their ALMOs in-house?||The number of ALMOs has been reducing and only four London boroughs – including Lewisham – still have an ALMO.|
|What are the timescales for any potential changes?||Residents will be consulted over the summer and early autumn. A final decision will take place before the end of the year.|
|Will any changes affect rent levels and tenancy agreements?||No, these will continue to be set by the Council in the same way they are set now. Tenancy agreements are with the Council and will not change.|
|If the service is brought back to the Council, how will the views of tenants and leaseholders be heard?||The Council wants to ensure that tenants and leaseholders are involved in how their homes are managed going forward. If the service is brought back to the Council alternative arrangements will be developed to replace the Lewisham Homes Board to ensure good engagement with the Council.|
|Would bringing housing management in-house save or cost more money?||Currently, some costs are duplicated, so bringing housing management back in-house could result in some efficiencies.|